Remember how Hillary Clinton repeatedly assured voters over the past week that the real scandal at the Veterans Administration was that Republicans wanted to privatize some of its functions in order to allow veterans to actually see a doctor? Even in Hillary’s attempted walkback on Wednesday, she still stressed that she was more concerned with GOP reform efforts than in solving the systemic fraud that kept thousands of veterans from getting medical care. Three new VA probes, first reported by the Free Beacon, make it clear that the problem remains despite more than a year of pledges from the Obama administration to fix them — and at least one veteran died while waiting for care:
Days after Hillary Clinton said that Republicans have inflated problems at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to make them appear more “widespread,” three reports point to shortfalls and mismanagement at VA facilities across the country.
The VA Office of Inspector General released three separate reports on VA facilities in Alaska, Illinois, and California this week that found insufficiencies at the locations.
The first assessment, released Wednesday, found that a veteran who could not eat because of difficulty swallowing experienced a delay in getting care at the Oxnard Community Based Outpatient Clinic at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System in California. The patient later died.
The inspector general also found evidence of delayed care for hundreds of patients requesting consults at the facility. The investigation found that 548 neurology consults had been open for over 30 days, and nearly half of those were open over 90 days. Nearly two dozen general surgery consults were also found to have been open for more than 90 days.
Furthermore, even where vets are getting care in Alaska, the standards are poor — despite the VA having uncovered problems two years earlier:
The same day, the inspector general released another report evaluating operations at the Alaska VA Healthcare System in Anchorage. It found that one licensed health care professional at the facility had been caring for patients for six months despite having “expired privileges.” Eighty percent of new employees also had not received suicide prevention training.
The Alaska medical center failed the infection prevention assessment, as clean and dirty items were stored together in 75 percent of the patient care areas reviewed by the inspector general. The facility also had not corrected multiple physical insufficiencies that were identified as long as two years ago.
But just remember — the real problem at the VA is that Republicans want to reform it to give veterans an option that doesn’t involve dying while waiting for care. Jennifer Rubin writes today that it reminds everyone of Hillary’s “severe limitations as a candidate“:
This episode reminds us of Clinton’s severe limitations as a candidate. It also should prompt Republicans to recognize the media is back in Hillary-rooting mood. Her outlandish statements will become headlines like: “Republicans try to exploit…” The media will shrug its collective shoulders at her inaccuracies and outright deceptions. This is all the more reason to find a superbly skilled nominee, one who can focus on her liabilities and cut through the media chatter.
At the recent debate and in subsequent interviews Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) used his time in the spotlight to focus on the evidence that immediately after the Benghazi attack she told family members and the Egyptian prime minister it was a terrorist attack while the administration perpetrated a false cover story for weeks.
Republicans cannot repeat often enough evidence of her ethical lapses and shoddy record. The press sure isn’t going to dwell on it.
As I wrote yesterday at The Fiscal Times, it also reminds everyone that the only real priority for Hillary Clinton is whatever can most benefit Hillary Clinton. If that means tossing vets under the bus to score a cheap point off the GOP by claiming victimhood status for herself, oh well:
The attempt to paint a picture of victimhood for Clinton backfired utterly. Both Democrats and Republicans publicly denounced Clinton’s efforts to minimize the fraud, which cost dozens of veterans their lives. McCain called them “disgraceful” and demanded an apology. Not only did that distract from her momentary triumph, it torpedoed her earlier claim of victimhood as well.
Days later, however, Clinton suddenly became the Stalwart of Defrauded Veterans. Wednesday morning, her campaign’s press secretary claims Clinton’s remarks had been “misinterpreted.” Brian Fallon also announced that Clinton had developed a plan for systemic reform of the Veterans Administration and would roll it out in November. “Even now, too many of our veterans are still waiting an unacceptably long time to see a doctor, or to process disability claims and appeals,” Fallon told CNN. …
Clinton is only a victim of her own thirst for power at all costs. She lied about her e-mail server in order to thwart legitimate oversight of her work at the State Department, and she lied about the VA scandal to score cheap points on her Republican opponents at the expense of veterans. McCain castigated Clinton for her “blind ambition” as the basis of her strange comments on the VA, but her ambition is all that truly defines her. There is no other authenticity to be found in Hillary Clinton, and this strange episode makes that perfectly clear.